Focus 2040 is dedicated to providing unique opportunities in the field surrounding Human Resource Management and Organizational Strategy. We do so by means of a forum that engages business leaders of today with the leaders of tomorrow and create links for mentoring, career opportunities and internships. The Focus 2040 experience attracts the best and brightest minds to collaborate, compete and earn recognition.
The mid 1960s in California was a period of flux, social unrest, anti war protests and from a young Canadian’s perspective, excitement. As a student at the UCLA Graduate Business School in the 1960s, I learned as much from what was happening on the streets of Los Angeles as I did from the classes at school. The professors had a hard time keeping our attention focused on course content. One of my professors dealt with this situation by giving us an interesting and demanding assignment. He divided the class into teams of 5 and challenged us to predict what management would be like 30 years out, in 1997.
Our team was made up of people from England, Italy, California and Japan. Collectively we were a mix of values, cultures, experience and ideas. It worked. It was one of the best learning experiences of my stay in California. I kept the final report and pulled it out in 1997. Our predictions while conservative were in the range of what did unfold.
I still think about the lessons I learned from that experience. The exercise forced us to think big picture, long term. We had to think “outside the box”. We looked for anomalies that might have implication for the future of management. We tapped into the very rich population of forward thinkers that we found living and working in Los Angeles at the time. The experience was amazing.
The Toronto Chapter of the Strategic Capability Network (SCN) decided that it wanted to help initiate an unusual, but practical learning experience for students contemplating careers in business and especially in Human Resource Management. I told my story to the leadership team of SCN and they encouraged me to create a similar challenge for Canadian students.
I met with professors and students at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business and received an enthusiastic response. The result is the Focus 2040 student competition.
Chair, Toronto Leadership Committee,
The Strategic Capability Network